Category Archives: Nao

We won our pool!

That’s the good news. The bad news is that we didn’t play our best game. We led L3M 1-0 at the half, but were off wireless the entire second half which kills our strategy of having the goalie communicate ball information. So we spent much of the half trying to score on ourselves. Our goalie was valiant, but eventually the 4 robots (2 of ours, 2 of theirs) trying to score on her (Zoe) were too much and they scored with less than a minute left.

So our first match tomorrow will be against Penn. They are looking very good and it should be a real challenge.

I expect/hope Wils will provide a more detailed accounting of the day’s activities later when he has some time.

— Aforementioned Detailed accounting —

So we haven’t won a pool since 2009?? That’s really good. We were very upset at our performance though, especially because it seemed out of our control. Our robots started out on the wireless and then completely dropped it. We felt helpless. That said a tie was enough for us to advance and be guaranteed 3 more games so that’s good. In the aftermath of the game we are hoping to develop strategies for if/when we drop wireless again and have also given the router a factory reset which (fingers crossed) should help. We also saw a curious bug that Octavian is looking into, in which the robot decided it would quit our program before each half. Very annoying seeing as we had to call a timeout to reboot them. Hopefully we will track that down. Tonight we have a scrimmage scheduled with our friends the Nao Devils from Dortmund. Hopefully that will look better.

Work continues on the motion engine…

In preparation for Istanbul, we’ve begun overhauling the sensor filtering pipeline of our motion engine. Currently (see the graph) things are pretty insane, with three layers of filtering before any data makes it into the control algorithms. With any luck, we’ll be able to tune the early stages of filtering to reduce any unnecessary delay.

motion engine sensor flowchart

Hey dawg I heard you like filters so I put a filter on your filter so you can filter after you just filtered...

Parents Weekend Scrimmage Recap

Apologies for the delay! Our Parent’s Weekend Scrimmage went off without a hitch (mostly). The lights were super dim and we had to enlist our auxiliary lighting to help out. Even so, the light was under 200, but Elise triumphed, churning out a functional color table in under 1.5 hours.

The team had a great showing, with 11 members participating. The new guys all got some experience with photo taking and the pre-game warm up. Photo taking this year is greatly expedited by the ability to stream and save images directly in the TOOL.

The scrimmage itself was a success. We played 2-on-1 for two regulation halves which ended in a 1-1 tie. The bots moved considerably slower than in Graz, but stayed stable for the whole game.

Check out the video below for the full match.
Parents Weekend 2009

Preparing a source code release

Our source code has been available to the public on github since we started a new repository last summer. However, we haven’t had a stable master worthy of releasing to the public until the RoboCup in Graz.

Now we’ve decided to do a real ‘source-release’ with the code we played in the Finals which has relatively stable versions of all the major modules necessary for soccer play. In addition, we’ve added pages of documentation to the motion and vision systems, and are revamping our online documentation at our wiki. Once we finished some more documentation and get a good draft of our Team Report done, we’ll add a tag to our github account, and make an official announcement here.

Our hope is that by setting the example of sharing our code, we can convince other teams to share their code as well, and help out teams who don’t want to develop all their modules on their own. If you’re interested in providing feedback on our documentation in advance of the code release, please take a look at our GettingStarted page, and reply to this post, or email me directly (jstrom bowdoin edu).

Below is a graph from of our the git commits leading up to RoboCup 2009.

NBites Dev History

NBites Dev History

First Nao V3 in our lab

Over break we got one of our robots upgraded in Paris to the new V3 model which is more robust and sports a second camera. I’ve posted a short video of it’s status message here.
Next week I’m going to Paris for a RoboCup workshop at Aldebaran to get the remaining three of our robots upgraded as well.

NAO 2.0

Looking snazzy

Aldeberan released a new promotional video for its updated model NAO robot. Notice the second camera! Very slick entertaining video. We’re very excited about the possibilities of the robot.

pSuzhou – the beginnings of something great (RoboCup Day 0)

On the bus to Suzhou from the Shanghai airport, Jack and I started writing what is the fastest behavior ever written – it was created today (Sunday) and will play soccer by Wednesday (knock on wood). Even in 2006, our behavioral code was started at least 2 weeks before competition. It will certainly be an adventure!

Our trip to get here went about as smooth as can be expected. No one got any sleep before our 3:00am meet up time in the Lab, and the 45-min taxi ride in a Lincoln Navigator turned out not be as cramped as we expected, considering the enormous size of our robot cases.

In Portland, Jack and I managed to get away with paying only 80 dollars apiece for our overweight and oversize luggage that could have cost us upto $300 per leg. What a steal! (Mike and Todd had to pay $360, and they’re luggage didn’t even make it to Shanghai on the right flight!) Our 1hr layover in Atlanta turned out to be plently long enough to make it from C55 (where our flight arrived) all the way to the E concourse to catch our 777 to shanghai. Bowdoin RoboCup represented in row 50, while the rest of the plane was pretty empty. The 15hr flight turned out to be just as long as you’d expect a 15 hour flight to be – long enough to take several hour long naps, watch a movie or two, and read some of my book, and still have time to watch the plane inch slowly across the map view in the headrest in front of me.

Once we got to Shanghai, I tried to take money from an ATM, but it said my Bank refused the payment. Instead I found a pretty decent exchange rate right next to the luggage pickup where you pay a flat 59 RMB commission on the exchange – the rate was something like 6.75 RMB/dollar. Once we got our luggage, we were met by some local volunteers who helped us sort out our ATA Carnet, and get through customs. Mainly we had to wait a long time for them to process CMUs Carnet – they never even looked through our luggage, and approved our paperwork quickly. As should be expected with technology, neither of the two cellphones I brought worked when I turned them on. The Bowdoin one refused to acquire any service – maybe it doesn’t work on the 900Mhz band? The other one I managed to borrow from Dave probably needs to get some minutes charged into it – it says Emergency Use Only – at least it gets service!

Exiting from Customs in Terminal 1, we met the rest of the group, who had already been informed by another volunteer that we had another team member waiting in Terminal 2. One of them even helped guide us to the other terminal, which was a relief. In Terminal 2, we met up with Todd and Mike from UT Austin, whose robot’s unfortunately hadn’t made it on the same flight. After grabbing Tucker and Henry, we were again guided to the tour bus, which took about 3 hours or so, and finally dropped off at our hotel. A deluge of volunteers processed all the RoboCuppers on the Bus, and got us meal tickets and room keys. Tomorrow we will start breakfast at 6am, in time to be at the Venue for the 7am opening.

Our first Nao is on the FedEx truck for delivery!

After an announcement yesterday that Aldebaran finally sent the first of our Nao, we got a tracking number this morning which shows the yet unnamed robot’s journey through Paris, Newark and then finally Portland. This morning at 7 am it was put on a truck for delivery, so it should make here by tonight! Stay tuned for unboxing pics and more coverage.